7 interesting facts about transportation in Ghana (Ft. Bolt, Uber, Yango and “Trotro”)
Ghana has the highest mobile phone penetration in West Africa with unique subscriber penetration averaging 55%. 3G coverage accounts for 60% of total connections and 4G is gaining substantial traction.
The government has increasingly provided support for the tech ecosystem through agencies such as the National Information Technology Agency. Despite the increasing support, some traditional industries are not adopting newer technologies compared to their counterparts in East and North Africa.
For reasons such as cost, convenience, and competition, the effect of increasing mobile penetration and ICT adoption has little effect on public transportation. These hilarious facts provide further insight.
1. Many ride hailing passengers have at least two of either Bolt, Yango, or Accra cab on their mobile devices
When ride demands increase, most passengers switch to alternate apps.
A week ago, when my supposed Bolt trip from Liberia Camp (Kasoa) to Ridge Hospital in Accra hiked by 50%, I simply switched to Yango. Switching to Yango cut down what I'd have paid by 55%.
As a result of scenarios like this, many ride hailing customers in Accra download multiple ride hailing apps.
2. Mutualism in Ride Hailing & Traditional Public Transportation
There’s an unimaginably peaceful co-existence between "Trotro", Uber, and Bolt in Ghana.
Imagine sharing a ride between Haatso Total and Accra Circle at 8am in the morning. The traffic congestion is enough to blow your purse. In cases like this, customers would rather pick up a "trotro "at 20% of Uber rates for the first hour, alight at 37 Military Hospital to pick up an Uber ride.
In Accra, it is so okay for passengers to switch rides from Uber to "trotro" and vice-versa. Price over convenience!
3. Uber App features supersede Bolt’s
Uber, unlike Bolt,
- Allows you to book a ride for later
- Lets you choose your preferred driver
- Allows you to freely contact driver without sharing personal info
- Lets you see in real time each vehicle your ride connects to
- Offers better user experience & accuracy of arrival of vehicles.
4. Uber & Bolt Drivers Dictate your experience
Drivers dictate passenger experiences and always inquire about passenger destinations after accepting rides.
Drivers who are part-time pastors would freeze the world of customers with sermons and Gospel music (they almost always don’t have any other genres). Drivers who prefer hip-hop would break passenger ear drums half way in the trip.
Drivers who are about fuel consumption would giggle repeatedly, hoping to not hear the word “AC”. One would always wonder what happened to customer service.
5. Yango doesn’t care if you use their services
Yango is the laissez-faire parent among all ride sharing apps in Ghana.
Yango tells you “Hey Sam, there are no vehicles today; we are not sorry”. When you are lost somewhere in Pokuase at 11pm and you open the Yango app, they would boldly tell you “Sorry pal, we ain’t picking you tonight”. Yango drivers never get the map right. Yango App freezes just when your ride is almost in. And Yango would almost always not find your location.
But Yango sometimes gives you the lowest prices; this is why the Ghanaian market always welcomes them.
6. Gossip inside a "Trotro" is the hottest in the world
Most companies find it difficult to build loyal following and active communities. Without any seed investment from Accra Business School and without any seed funding, the "trotro" association of Ghana offers the best gossip experience any customers would find.
Have you joined a ride in which all passengers unite against the "trotro mate's" (Bus conductor) prices? Hola! The "trotro" community gets people engaged without the exchange of names. "Trotro mates" bond well with passengers who pay extra. Hot arguments about prices are certain to happen. And the union of passengers against a reckless driver would lift you off your seat.
Ghana is an interesting place and the "trotro" experience in Ghana is most exhilarating.
7. BOLT ranks ahead of Uber, "Trotro", and Taxi in 5 out of 6 categories.
I asked a small group of my Ghanaian friends about their preferences for ride hailing services and public transportation, then, I plotted their responses on a graph.
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